‘Twas the evening of April 2, 2011. India faced Sri Lanka in an epic finale of the 2011 World Cup. With just 4 more runs to score, and 11 balls to spare, India’s captain M. S. Dhoni knocked the ball for a sixer. An entire nation erupted into shouts of joy. People ran out on the streets, waved the tricolor and hugged each other. No one cared which caste or community the other belonged to. It was the biggest known celebration in the history of sports. India had waited for this moment for 28 long years. The pride and elation that every Indian felt that day cannot be put to words. You had to be there… You had to be there.
Memories of that night in the spring of 2011 will never be forgotten. The game of cricket had officially unified the country as a whole and a billion hearts bled blue. Sushrut Jain beautifully encapsulates this craze in the documentary, Beyond All Boundaries: Cricket. But that is not what it’s all about. It goes beyond the confines of the stadium and tells the tales of three individuals, who despite their passion for the game, don’t get the same amount of limelight.
We first meet Sudhir Kumar, a man who paints himself in toxic paint and carries a conch to every game. He travels to these matches on a bicycle, because he can’t afford otherwise. Then we are introduced to 18-year-old Akshaya Surve, a girl who plays cricket to escape the tragedies of her family life. In 12-year-old Prithvi Shaw, we see the next rising star of cricket. A boy pegged as the next Sachin Tendulkar.
The three of them have two things in common – they love cricket and the fact that they come from extremely poverty-ridden backgrounds. Their tales are narrated by Kunal Nayyar (of The Big Bang Theory fame), and we get a glimpse of what life is like for them. Following their journey alongside the World Cup, Sushrut Jain makes sure we laugh with their victories and cry as they battle poverty and disappointment.
It should be noted here that Beyond All Boundaries: Cricket is not a perfect documentary. There are certain parts of it that seem scripted, especially the ones dealing with Prithvi and a local politician. The background score by Daniel Walter and Christopher Carmichael is excellent, but does not always compliment the scene it is used for.
However, the minor drawbacks can be ignored, as it is evident that a lot of dedication went into making this documentary. The crew faced financial roadblocks, due to which the film took over two years to complete. And in the end, it is safe to say that it emerged victorious, just like our three heroes.
Why should you watch this film?
It doesn’t really matter if you are a cricket fan or not, as Jain’s story connects with you at a human level. The documentary is aptly paced, and makes you care for its three protagonists. After premiering at film festivals all around the world, Beyond All Boundaries: Cricket has finally come to India. And this is where it rightfully belongs. Go watch it for the never-say-quit attitude that defines Indians, and to relive the euphoria that followed the World Cup 2011.